As Governor Ben Ayade restores security and calm on Uyanga axis of Calabar-Ikom highway, By Ifere Paul

Governor Ben Ayade

There is relative peace at Uyanga axis of the Calabar-Ikom Highway. And, this is quite understandable. Local militant groups and kidnappers had almost turned that part of the expressway into a dangerous point where drivers and commuters dreaded in their journeys to, through and from Calabar.

Recall how indigenes and residents of Cross River State woke up on the 15th of November, 2022 to the sad news of kidnapping of nine travelers who left Calabar on their way to Ikom. This was after serious gun wounds on an indian man who escaped the kidnappers around that axis earlier.

The State Governor had directed the commissioner of police to step in immediately. He swiftly sprang into action and sent a detachment of mobile policemen who went there and rescued eight kidnapped victims, killed three of the kidnappers, and recovered military-styled rifles from them.

These daredevils came back stronger and more daring, kidnapping another set of commuters and collecting ransom from them. They would later kidnap another set again which included the former accountant general of the State civil service and three others on Uyanga-Okomita part of the Calabar-Ikom Highway.

Governor Ben Ayade in a press release through the office of the Special Adviser on Information, Mr Kalita Joe Aruku, had vowed to match actions with words.

In like manner, the governor had set up a JTF and had directed and approved that road checkpoints be mounted throughout the Uyanga-Ikom Axis of the Calabar-Ogoja Highway. He further directed that Local Government Chairmen should, as a matter of urgency, clear up all bushy part along Akamkpa and Biase LGA, especially on the shoulders of the highway.

Calls were put across to Mr Adebayo Bassey Otosi who runs a transport company and is a driver; he assured commuters that the road was relatively safe now following increased security presence (both military and police checkpoints).

He advised that commuters should worry less about the security challenges as that had been addressed. “Sections of that road that were bushy have been cleared, giving drivers access to visibility of what is ahead.” He concluded that “at least people can now travel for their Christmas Holidays without fears.”

Confirming this development, the Managing Director, Cross River State Export Promotion Council, Mr James Alicia Okpomu, who traveled down from Ogoja to Calabar, reiterated the fact that “there is a heavy increase in security presence along the Uyanga bridge.”

He concluded that, “however, with the presence of army and policemen on the road, it is advisable to travel early in the morning and afternoons, rather than in the evenings and at night.”

This is a testament that His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade means well for the State and its citizens.

While the public appreciates His Excellency, Governor Ben Ayade, on this feat, it is important that the governor looks at calling the attention of the federal government towards promptly fixing this portions of bad road.

● Chief Ifere Paul is Senior
Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria.

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